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Whether it’s always realized, we tell the story of our Operations department in big and small ways. From how many millions of pounds of food that leave our warehouse each year – 18.5 million in 2022, more than 22 million in 2023 – to the multiple places from which we procure that food – from regional grocers, nationwide suppliers, local hunters, and more – Operations is the backbone of the work that we do here at the Food Bank of South Jersey. 

Without our Operations team, much of what we do would be impossible. Taking in donations from a large food drive? Not without careful synchronization of the teams in and around the warehouse to work in near-perfect symmetry. Helping a food distributor’s truck driver get home to his family after his trailer full of perfectly good meat is turned away by a local retailer? Not without our food sourcing and receiving teams coordinating the exchange so that food doesn’t go to waste. Supplying 1,000 of our area’s seniors with supplemental resources? Not without our incredible drivers, fulfillment, and inventory teams – and the fresh and shelf-stable items that are stored in our 60,000-sq ft space. 

Did you know that an upward of 40 orders for our pantry partners might go out the door in one day, and just one of those orders could be 60 pallets? That means that just one of our staff members might pick between 600-700 order items in one day! 

Operational efficiency is crucial in driving an organization’s impact. And our Operations staff took on some mighty tasks last year – achievements in waste reduction, double-digit percentage increases in pounds donated and pounds put out to the market, new streamlining of systems that improve accuracy, and more. 

It’s not always glamorous to talk about efficiency, but when a team works as hard as ours does, and serves the vulnerable populations that we do, it needs to be working at its highest potential day in and day out. We know that we have 170,000 individuals in South Jersey counting on us every month, and we make sure we deliver. 

2023 was a big year, and we saw near-pandemic levels of neighbors seeking assistance. And when the need is that great, we have to be great too.  

Gathering items for our community partners from throughout the warehouse now takes nearly half the time after a change was coordinated in how we’re able to process orders. Inventory now only takes a morning instead of two full days. We more than doubled the amount of fresh produce we can distribute to our partners, including direct delivery from farm to pantry. And, speaking of farms, two rescue farms in the area began taking our food trash, allowing us to give our perishable waste to (we’re sure) very-pleased animals. 

The Operations team is always looking to improve what they do. Through innovation, teamwork, and efficiency, all these efforts lead to better serving our neighbors in South Jersey.   



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